Windows 10 is packed full of new features and improvements over its predecessors, however, perhaps the biggest new feature that arrived with it is Cortana. This is Microsoft’s new digital assistant and it was released as a competitor to Apple’s Siri and Samsung’s Bixby. It collects some of your data to supposedly learn more about you and become more efficient as it starts to understand you better.
In older versions of Windows 10, there was a simple and easy On/Off toggle switch you could access within settings that allowed you to disable this digital assistant. Unfortunately, nowadays it seems that Microsoft does not actually want you to disable Cortana. Starting from Windows 10 version 1607, the toggle switch was removed, making the process of disabling the assistant way lengthier and more cumbersome.
How to Disable Cortana in Windows 10?
Since the user-friendly option of a toggle switch is no longer viable, you will have to edit the Windows Registry in order to disable Cortana. If you are using Windows 10 Home then that’s the only way to go, however, if you have either Windows 10 Professional or Enterprise, you can disable the assistant from the Group Policy Editor. Actually, we recommend you use the latter method if possible.
WARNING: Windows Registry Editor is a powerful tool that is capable of destabilizing your system or rendering it completely unusable if misused. The following tutorial is very thorough and as long as you stick to it, you should not face any issues. Regardless we still strongly advise you to read up on how to use the registry editor before trying the instructions. DO NOT forget to backup the Registry before making any changes to it.
Disabling Cortana using Registry
- Open the Run Window by pressing the Windows key + R at the same time and type regedit, pressing ENTER once done
- Using the sidebar on the left side, proceed to this directory
If you don’t see a “Windows Search” key (folder) below the Windows folder, right-click the Windows folder and select New > Key. Name it “Windows Search”
- Right-click the Windows Search key (folder) in the left pane and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value
- Name the value AllowCortana. Double-click it and set the value to 0
- Close the registry editor and restart your computer
If you wish to re-enable Cortana, follow the same steps, however, set the value of AllowCortana to 1.
Disable Cortana using Group Policy (only for Windows 10 Professional and Enterprise)
- Open the Run Window by pressing the Windows key + R at the same time and type msc, pressing ENTER once done
- Go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Find the Allow Cortana setting in the right pane and double-click it
- Set the Allow Cortana option to Disabled and then click OK
- Close the group policy editor and restart your computer
To re-enable Cortana, return here, double-click the Enable Cortana setting, and change it to Not Configured or Enabled.
Thats it! Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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